The Ex-American Blues

Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.


The 2016 Presidential Election is certainly turning out to be contentious, and many Americans are threatening to emigrate should Donald Trump become our President-elect.

Now, you may remember that in 2008 many members of the KKK and similar white-supremacist groups threatened to emigrate if Obama became president. Yet, Obama was elected by a margin of almost ten million votes and none of our hardcore racist organizations left the United States in spite of the tremendous number of people offering them free tickets and bon voyage parties.

Are the members of the Anti-Trump camp more credible with their current threats to emigrate?

Frankly, I don’t know, but it appears to be a minor problem. Conservative estimates claim that, if Trump wins, it’s unlikely that we will lose more than 50 to 60 million of our most well-educated and rational citizens. That being the case, we can certainly speculate on how America’s Trump-inspired downsizing might be accepted by the rest of the world.

Shannon International Airport, Western Ireland
“Passport please, sir.”
I cheerfully smiled as I handed the immigration officer my documents. “Here you go.”
“Ah, another American. Please, state the reason for your visit to Ireland?”
“Trump was elected.”
“That’s what they all say, lately. However, your tourist visa is only good for ninety days…”
“Ninety days! But, the next presidential election isn’t until 2020! I’ll need a four year extension.”
He returned my passport. “Possibly eight years.”
“There’s no need to get nasty!”

Excerpt from the American Refugee Report to UN General Assembly
(Presented by European Union Special Envoy Greta Goneto-Berlin)
“…American President-elect Donald Trump will take office in January 2017. I realize that this has already caused a massive American refugee crisis in Canada and Mexico, however the European Union needs to remind the UN General Assembly that we are also in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

In recent years, Europe has been overwhelmed by a flood of immigrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Albania, Pakistan, Iran, Ukraine, and a massive weekend overflow of Japanese tourists from Disneyland Paris.

“Europe’s resources are now under tremendous strain. Without help from the world community, we cannot resettle the millions of Americans hoping to avoid the President-elect’s recently announced and currently pending, first executive order requiring American citizens to tattoo ‘Buy Trump Steaks’ on their foreheads.”

BREAKING NEWS from the Mexican Newspaper El Universal
President Enrique Pena Nieto today informed Mexico’s Congress of the Union that construction has begun on a wall to stop the tremendous flood of Gringos streaming south across our 1,989 mile border with the United States. The legislators strongly objected until
el presidente explained that the wall would be paid for, in full, by Donald Trump.

El presidente and the Secretary of Finance recently completed top secret negotiations purchasing all of President-elect Trump’s debt from Russia, China and every Wall Street firm that doesn’t want to see their Mexican, Central and South American investments nationalized before breakfast tomorrow morning.

“As we now own Mr. Trump,” said President Nieto, “He will pay for the wall, or we will foreclose on everything, up to and including his bottle of orange hair dye.”

NOTE: Despite the rapidly spreading rumor, it is untrue that a certain senator from Veracruz immediately called out in open session, “Dibs on Melania!”

Cover image: "Sexual Evolution"A Sample Employment Interview
   “I see from your most impressive resume that you have PhDs in both particle and theoretical physics, Dr. Outlier. And that you are have won two Nobel prizes! Remarkable!”
   “Yes, I was hoping to find a teaching or research position at the University of Panama.”
   “I’m so sorry to disappoint,” the clerk replied. “Unfortunately, doctor, all of those positions are currently filled with tenured professors. However, I don’t want you to get discouraged. Panama offers a wide range of employment opportunities, and as an American, your unique perspective can be most valuable.”
   “Thank you. I enjoy being productive.”
   “Excellent attitude. Now, since it’s unlikely that the international physics community will be relocating the Large Hadron Collider to Panama City, how do you feel about chicken farming? Do you have any bird allergies?”

There is reason to be hopeful. Many expat Americans live happy, productive lives in countries around the world. So, don’t be discouraged by a few barely noticeable difficulties. Instead, focus on your personal needs and desires, and don’t be afraid to ask yourself hard questions.
For example: Do you like Canadian beer?

Parting Funny: Vote early and vote often.Al Capone

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Picture This!

Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.


Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but I heartily recommend that captions be significantly shorter.

Captions are practically custom-made for ‘outside the box’ thinking. Seriously… Captioning pictures and cartoons is a fabulous opportunity for the humorist to stretch their imagination. Even better, your readers expect humorous captions to push the envelope—the more outlandish the better—as long as it produces a laugh.

While it’s easy to say that humorous captions have no limits, it may be difficult at first for the novice writer to make appropriate, though wild and wooly, connections. However, consider that the best humorous connection between the picture and the caption is not necessarily inherent within the graphic itself. It’s perfectly acceptable for your caption to connect the graphic to something remotely related or even unrelated. In fact, it may be preferred. Often, the least obvious connection gets a better response due to surprise.

Shack, falling down

The San Francisco City Council strongly disputes reports that affordable housing is no longer available within city limits.

Use the whole picture.
It’s natural for someone viewing a picture to focus on…well, the focus of the picture. However, both foreground and background objects are viable fodder for a good caption. When searching for the most humorous line, try both before making a final decision.

Laundromat, climb in dryer

My Zen training kept me in the moment while I waited, so I immediately noticed the available empty basket.

Odd Captions
While it’s true that most captions are statements, there is no law requiring a caption to be a standard one-liner. It’s entirely fair to attempt a question, a paragraph, or even a multiple choice caption.

CAUTION: Readers do not expect to read War and Peace when viewing a caption. Still, long captions are perfectly acceptable, but they are best when over the top funny.

Bride, red bouquet

A bride’s smile says to the world:
1. I’m so happy.
2. I’m so in love.
3. I fit in the damn dress; I’m going to eat today!

Cartoon Ballons
Cartoons capture both the real world and fantastic fantasies dredged from the mind of the artist.

First, be sensitive to an artist’s rights. While it’s often easy to think of a better caption for a published cartoon, make sure that you get the artist’s permission before use, or stick to public domain.

Next, even if the box is the same size, the ‘outside’ in ‘outside the box’ just became much larger. However, don’t be intimidated. Pure fantasy can be just as humorous as reality, and frankly, it’s a lie that adults outgrow cartoons. Almost every newspaper has a comics page because of their enduring popularity.

Think of captioning cartoon characters as simply expanding your repertoire.

Potato 01 - Caption Replacable

A Narrative in Pictures
My last blog told the story of Trump vs. Baby. Narratives using pictures and captions offer a chance to significantly pump up the humor. However…

  1. Never force a picture to conform. Choose pictures that you feel fit naturally into your story.
  2. Keep the story simple. It’s not only easier to find pictures for a simple story, but simplicity improves the flow for the reader.
  3. If you choose a theme, it’s generally best to keep it light so that it doesn’t interfere with the humor. No one sane wants to laugh at graphic pictures of Armageddon.

Captioning pictures and cartoons is great fun for most humorists, and to be honest, relatively easy. A picture kick-starts one’s imagination. After that, it’s simply a matter of editing the caption to tighten up the humor. So, if you haven’t yet tried captioning, what are you waiting for?

All photos CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

Parting Funny: I tried to be normal once. Worst two minutes of my life.Ziad K. Abdelnour

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Trump vs. Baby, The True Story

Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.


And now for something completely different.
– Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Everyone knows what happened.


Do they?

Here’s the true story of the Trump vs. baby controversy in their own words:

Two babies talking.

Tell me what happened.

Heavily pregnant woman.

Well, you know how it is, after feeling claustrophobic for so long, I just had to get out.

Inquisitive baby.

“Mom, can we go to the Trump rally?”

Two babies "talking."

Trump? Really?

Surprised baby.

I wanted to see if he really had orange hair.

Baby orangutan

He does. Look at this picture.

Interested baby.

Freaky! Continue.

Yawning baby.

To be honest, the rally was a little boring.

Baby in elephant costume.

They only let me in because I dressed Republican.

Crying baby.

And frankly, I wasn’t having a good time.

Black baby.

I couldn’t even get tickets!

Hispanic baby.

His security people built a wall to keep me out.

Baby wearing Muslim head scarf.

He wouldn’t even let me in the country.

Surprised baby, mouth agape.

Well, believe it or not, Trump kicked me out!

Shocked baby, hands on head.

Wow! What a bastard!

Stunned baby - indeterminate expression.

I was stunned.

Baby in bathtub.

I felt so dirty.

Crying baby 2.

I wanted to cry some more.

Baby gnawing her fingers.

There was so much stress.

Baby messily eating chocolate.

I almost went back to my chocolate bar addiction.

Baby wearing clown hat.

But then I thought, “I’m not the one acting like a clown.”

Mom and baby sticking out tongue.

I told my mom, “I’ll handle this.”

Baby pointing finger.

After all, it’s his problem!

Happy baby, eyes closed.

So, I closed my eyes and imagined my revenge.

Baby, stiff lip.

I was so determined…

Crawling baby.

I got moving immediately.

Stunned baby 2.

First, I told a friend, who couldn’t believe it either.

Two stunned babies.

Then, my friends told their friends.

Two babies, facing.

Everyone spread the word.

Babies, hand on shoulder.

They encouraged me to go to the press.

Three babies seated.

So, I talked to the youngest reporters I could find at the Times, the Post and the Tribune.

Babies, Asian dress.

I even went to the foreign press.

Baby, wide smile.

Front page, baby!

Happy babies, open mouths.

Wow! We’re so proud of you.

Happy baby and dad.

So was my dad when I told him.

Sleeping baby.

But, it was an exhausting day!

Baby wearing crown.

“Who’s the king now, Donald?”

Happy babies, heads together.

I love this story. Tell it again.

All photos CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay
Book Cover image


Parting Funny: When your first baby drops her pacifier, you sterilize it. When your second baby drops her pacifier, you tell the dog: ‘Fetch!.’ – Bruce Lansky
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Do You Choose Your News?

Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

An Informal Survey for News Consumers
Circle the most correct response.

A) Hillary’s a crook, Trump’s a malignant narcissist, and Obama screwed an entire caboodle of pooches.

B) Today’s journalists report only the facts.

C) I watch the news while making love.

NOTE 1: Don’t worry about answer ‘C’. The television news anchor is not really looking at you…much.

In actuality, this survey has no correct answer.

One of the major problems our modern society faces is news tailored to our likes and dislikes. (That’s thumbs up and thumbs down if you’re a millennial.) Today, every click of the mouse or the remote control brings us a steady diet of what we desire, not what we need to know.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Fox “News” are using advanced metrics and algorithms to shamelessly pander to our desires, however, realistically, can these companies be faulted for seeking happy, ill-informed news consumers? After all, happy customers are the direct route to increasing quarterly profits, even if, every year, they lose a few ill-informed customers who mistake tsunami warning sirens for unusually loud bird calls.

Perhaps, we as consumers are at fault. We WANT entertaining news—stories and opinions that we find agreeable. Ergo, the market does indeed respond.

Consider, The Haagen-Dazs Example:

Desire: Ask any five year-old: “What would you like for dinner, roast beef and broccoli, or chocolate ice cream?”

Market Response: Every ice cream manufacturer produces chocolate, often in many varieties. Let’s assume that these companies are responding to your children’s desires.
(Wink! Wink!)

Our News Choices
If you want to start a very interesting conversation, ask someone where they get their news, and more importantly, why. For the last week, I tried asking complete strangers about their news source and I learned two things:

  1. Most people choose biased news sources.
  2. Some women will call the police on you in a heartbeat!

Today’s Bias and BS
Ideally, television, newspapers, and the internet should keep us informed, with one obvious caveat:

If you get your news from social media, at least consider upgrading to tabloids. You owe it to the aliens in Area 51.

Unfortunately, many of today’s news services are only marginally better. Journalism is no longer simply a fact-finding profession; it’s an acting job, or a public relations job, or a propagandist job. Not that acting, PR and ‘lying scum’ can’t be considered professions, but most media consumers already know where to find entertainment mixed with unrealistic claims. For example, we watch cooking shows which use exotic, unpronounceable ingredients and fine wines that cost more than mom’s hip replacement.

News—real news—is an entirely different animal.

Theoretically, what people should want is fact-based news that informs us on the issues of the day. Entirely separate from the facts, please provide relevant, diverse and astute analysis and opinions. More and more, this appears to be the unicorn of the 21st century.

NOTE 2: Even though it may appear so, mentioning “relevant, diverse and astute” as positive attributes was not a Trump slam.

Yet Another Cheap Off-the-Cuff Test
Ask ten random people: “Which actor or actress is your favorite, and why?” Then, ask them, “Who is the US Secretary of State, and what’s he done lately?”

The likely responses will be similar to:

  1. “I love Hollywood stars, and I know a lot about famous people who have no real impact on my life.”
  2. “I know absolutely nothing about the Cabinet Member who is daily representing me and the entire country in international affairs, including trade, war, peace, etc.”
  3. “Damn, hearing aid batteries!”

Okay, we’ll let number three off the hook.

Book Cover image


Reliable News – It’s A Scavenger Hunt
Don’t be overly distressed; most news consumers know that they’re being bamboozled by news anchors wearing expensively tailored suits and seventeen pounds of hair gel. Some broad-based polls claim that as few as 40% of consumers trust the news, while 74% view the news media as biased. In addition, only 4% trust news from social media. Lastly, a recent poll of far-right, evangelical, NRA card-carrying, white separatists who exclusively watch Fox “News” have 97% confidence in both the nightly news and the lottery ticket that they purchased with a fill-up and a six-pack at Bubba Mart.

Frankly, there is no consensus from polling (or other) organizations as to the quality of nightly news. This, of course, leaves the consumer in the awkward position of choosing for themselves. The most popular choices being:

  • Complacency – Happy to let other people and corporations choose for me.
  • Actively Searching – Willing to search for news and different perspectives from US and foreign sources.
  • Oblivious – I just like to watch the drug company commercials.

Today, finding reliable news takes work. So… Do you prefer beef and broccoli, or chocolate ice cream?

Parting Funny: My schoolmates would make love to anything that moved, but I never saw any reason to limit myself.Emo Philips
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